Model for Modified Consensus in Decision-Making

Forward! Marching Band consensus decision making model 

1    Voting Rights
Any member who has attended at least 6 rehearsals in the past 6 months has voting rights.

2    Roles

2.1    Convener
Convener — One who assembles, usually for an official or  public purpose; meet formally. To cause to assemble.

Collects suggestions for agenda items from members
1.    Writes and distributes the agenda
2.    Agenda should include:
•    Meeting time and place
•    Review / approval of notes
•    Announcements
•    Other items suggested by membership
•    Schedule next meeting time and location and
•    Adjourn
3.    Sends reminders of meeting time, place and agenda to members
4.    Makes sure meetings convene and end on time

2.2    Facilitator
Facilitator – One who makes easier or less difficult as a process.
1.    Serves group, is neutral
2.    Grants the floor to members who wants to speak and “stacks” those waiting to speak
3.    Suggests alternative procedures
4.    Encourages full participation
5.    Keeps team on track
6.    Calls for consensus and counts hands or votes

 2.3    Note Taker
1.    Keeps an accurate summary of the meeting
2.    Verbatim transcript is not necessary
3.    Notes should include decisions and final results and indicate whether decided by quick consensus, show of hands or super-majority vote
4.    If possible, include general themes (bullet points) of discussion
5.    Drafts minutes and posts or publishes to membership within reasonable time of meeting

 3    Quorum
A quorum for a meeting shall consist of more than 50% of eligible voters.

 4    Discussion Ground Rules
Members wishing to make a contribution during meetings shall make a  sign so indicating. The facilitator will recognize members to speak  during meetings, and shall use the ‘stacking’ method to manage  participation by members.
1.    Members will not interrupt one another during discussion;
2.    Only one speaker at a time;
3.    All ideas have value;
4.    No one person shall dominate the discussion;
5.    Try to minimize repetition of discussion.  If you agree with what someone else has said, simply say so.
6.    Ideas may be debated but personal attacks are not permitted;
7.    Members all share equal status and authority;
8.    All members present are expected to participate;
9.    Members are expected to be on time to meetings;
10.    Meetings shall begin and end according to scheduled times. Decisions  to work beyond a scheduled ending time may be made through  consensus of members present;
11.    The meeting shall follow the prepared agenda;
12.    Silence equals assent;
13.    Any member may call the question of any member’s failure to adhere  to these ground rules at any point during the meeting.

5    Proposals or Motions
Members may make proposals, suggestions or formal motions at any time during discussion.  Formal motions and seconds are not necessary, but can be used if desired.  Before seeking consensus or a vote, the facilitator will repeat the proposal and make sure the proposer and any second agree with the wording, and that all members understand the proposal.

6    Consensus

6.1    Quick Consensus
The facilitator may, after discussion, ask for consensus – either on a proposal or motion by a member, or at his or her own intiative — by saying something like “It sounds like we have a consensus to do ____________.  Are there any objections?”  If after a reasonable pause, no objections are offered, consensus is achieved, and the decision is made.

 6.2    Show of Hands
After discussion, the facilitator or any member may ask for a show of hands.  Each member will give a hand signal to indicate their preference.  The hand signals are:

  •  Hand, with all five fingers extended:  “I support.”
  • Two fingers: “I don’t know or I don’t care.”
  • One finger (you can pick which finger you want to use!):  “I don’t like it, but I don’t want to block consensus.”
  • Raised fist (except when we’re singing Solidarity): “This doesn’t work for me, I need a different alternative.  I am blocking consensus.

If 2/3 of those present support, and there are no blocks, consensus is achieved and the decision is made.

7    If Consensus Fails

7.1    Failure to Reach 2/3 Support
If less than 2/3 of those present support (whether or not there is also a block), the proposer(s) has the option of modifying their proposal to attract more support, or of withdrawing the proposal.

7.2    Resolving Blocks
If consensus is blocked, members must make an effort to work with the blocker(s) to identify the nature of their concerns and suggest alternatives that may resolve them.

7.3    Super Majority Vote
If a call for consensus indicates 2/3 or more support, and reasonable efforts have been made to satisfy the concerns of the blocker(s), yet consensus is still blocked, any member may call for a supermajority vote.  The facilitator will call the roll.  If 3/4 of those present vote to support the proposal or motion, the block is overridden and the decision is made.

(approved November 2012 by consensus)

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